The latest album from Saxon called Carpe Diem was released on February 4th on Silver Lining Records and has been receiving a lot of well-deserved praise. I had the pleasure of talking with Biff about some recent shows Saxon did in the UK as well as the new album. We also touched on tour plans, working with his son Seb on Heavy Water and pizza toppings.
At the end of January 2022, Saxon played a couple of sold-out shows in Manchester and in London at the legendary Hammersmith Odeon (now known as Eventim Apollo). The videos from these concert-show everyone thoroughly enjoying Saxon with a full stage show. I asked Biff how he and the band felt being back in front of a sold-out crowd after two hard years. “Well, it was a bit emotional really” replied Biff. “The people kept their tickets for over two years was absolutely phenomenal. The loyalty to the band is unbelievable.”
I had the privilege of reviewing the new album called Carpe Diem for Metal Wani. It is a masterpiece of traditional metal music. The new music has modern firepower and stacks up well against the Saxon classics such as Wheels Of Steel and Denim and Leather. I wanted to know how Biff feels the new album stacks up with Saxon’s prior work. Biff answered, “I think it’s up there”. He continued “I was on a crusade to bring the guitar riffs back. That was my aim. I said to the boys, look I need some guitar riffs, boys. I don’t want anything that’s nearly a great guitar riff. I want it to be an absolutely stunning guitar riff, so send me all your ideas. I picked the ideas from that really and then we went forward and wrote the song from the guitar riff and the title I had in my head.”
The song “Pilgrimage” off Carpe Diem is thoughtful and feels somewhat introspective. I asked Biff if he’s ever taken a pilgrimage. “Well, I suppose I’m doing them all the time in a way” Biff replied with a laugh. “I suppose going to Hadrian’s Wall where I came up with the idea for Carpe Diem (the album title); it was a pilgrimage. It’s only a couple of hours away from me. It’s a really desolate place; the part I went to. You have to walk like 3 miles to get to it up into the hills.” Biff continued “I found the words, Carpe Diem, there. I knew what it meant before that. I saw it carved into a stone on the wall and I thought that is a cool thing to write that on the wall all those years ago…I thought that was a positive thing for the album.”
Saxon have a UK tour booked for November of 2022. Currently, plans for the United States are in flux due to varying degrees of venue access due to the pandemic and the lengthy process of getting visas. Saxon are looking forward to putting together a great tour package for the fans in the states, but we’ll have to wait until later in the year for more details.
We also chatted a bit about Biff’s other band Heavy Water which includes his son Seb. The father and son teamed up to write an excellent blues-rock album with a touch of grunge called “Red Brick City”. Biff mentioned that they are in the process of recording a follow-up album and hope to bring the band on a tour of the club circuit.
I wrapped up the talk with Biff by asking a fairly controversial question regarding pizza toppings.